Millbrook resident, Hamilton College student Corey Rundquist conducts summer research on meromictic Green Lake

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Millbrook resident, Hamilton College student Corey Rundquist conducts summer research on meromictic Green Lake

Rundquist is a rising senior, biology and Chinese double major at Hamilton

CLINTON, NY (08/16/2021) This summer Millbrook resident and Hamilton College rising senior Corey Rundquist was one of four Hamilton biology majors who studied bacteria samples from Green Lake in Fayetteville, N.Y., in an effort to better understand its unique qualities. Green Lake, known for its stunning green-blue tint, is exceptional for being meromictic, meaning the layers of water never mix. This is different from more common holomictic lakes, in which the surface and deep-water layers turn over seasonally.

The lake is unusually deep for its size and also has high salinity in its basin waters, so it does not turn over. It was likely created due to a waterfall that receded as the glaciers melted, and this waterfall had a force similar to Niagara Falls, so the water carved out this extraordinarily deep lake.

To gather data about the water and its microbes, the team used underwater sensors to measure factors such as pH, turbidity, conductivity, and temperature. They also employed a remote-operated vehicle [ROV] to assist in the collection of microbial samples emerging from water seeps. The ROV, which is equipped with cameras, a voltage meter, and a water pump, provided the team with valuable visual images and physical samples.

The Hamilton team’s research can be traced back to the early 2000s, when Associate Professor of Biology Mike McCormick began studying the unusual properties of Green Lake. In prior years, he has brought students with him to the lake both during semesters and on breaks.

The students’ research comprised two kinds of workdays: those on which they went to the lake and those on which they stayed on campus. On lake days, they would meet at the lab around 6 a.m. to gather supplies before driving to the state park. Once on the water, they would explore and collect samples until the afternoon, when they would start looking at data, preparing and preserving collected samples, examining water samples under microscopes, and preparing for the next day.

“It was fun because we were a unit; we all helped out, and that made the work pretty easy,” Rundquist said.

On non-lake days, they would perform miscellaneous tasks including cleaning up the lab, preparing and analyzing samples, and helping McCormick design his projects. The collaborative nature of the project in all its stages was highlighted by the students as particularly enjoyable. “It’s fun to get to know my professors in a closer way; having conversations about random stuff, killing time in the car,” Rundquist added.

Corey Rundquist is a graduate of Millbrook School

Originally founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, Hamilton College offers an open curriculum that gives students the freedom to shape their own liberal arts education within a research- and writing-intensive framework. Hamilton enrolls 1,850 students from 49 states and 49 countries. Additional information about the college can be found at www.hamilton.edu.

 

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Author: Harlem Valley News